Road to 2018 Farm Bill Was Years in the Making

Contrary to some beliefs, the Farm Bill helps extra than simply America’s agriculture sector. The invoice’s power title packages present important help to corporations and producers engaged on improvements in renewable chemical compounds, superior biofuels and different merchandise of business biotechnology all through the worth chain. And these applied sciences are creating new jobs in rural America.

Understanding the significance of those packages, BIO took the lead in advocating for bio-based industries and made positive Congress heard the advantages early and infrequently. BIO’s President and CEO Jim Greenwood famous the profit of those packages in testimony to Congress when work first started on this vital laws in 2017.

“Farm Bill energy title programs have been incredibly successful in incentivizing the biobased economy,” he defined. “Because of the research, loans, and grants provided by these programs, industrial biotechnology companies are developing new feedstocks, industrial enzymes, and biological catalysts for the conversion of biomass for the production of advanced biofuels, alternative jet fuels, renewable chemicals and biobased products.”

When negotiations started on the invoice, BIO’s advocacy was two-fold: enhance Farm Bill packages to higher help these corporations as they proceed constructing the bio-based economic system, and guarantee these packages are adequately funded to allow them to be efficient.

As a end result, a number of program enhancements have been made to the power title due to BIO’s experience and enter, together with the Biobased Markets Program, which authorizes the “BioPreferred Program.” The new invoice directs USDA to educate businesses on how to navigate voluntary labeling packages in federal buying to guarantee the worth of bio-based merchandise are understood and these merchandise are prioritized. Additionally, the invoice instructs USDA to set up a technique for figuring out the quantity of bio-content in merchandise, and thus eligibility of merchandise for the BioPreferred program and the “USDA Certified Biobased Product” label.

These enhancements will permit extra bio-based merchandise to qualify for the “BioPreferred” program and lift consciousness amongst authorities businesses to the worth and profit of buying bio-products. The new farm invoice additionally will increase funding for this program to $3 million yearly.

BIO additionally advocated for enhancements to the Biorefinery Assistance Program, which helps corporations in rural America who’re constructing new biorefineries—whether or not for renewable chemical compounds, biofuels or different bio-based merchandise—safe financing.

Previously, the program required corporations to produce a complicated biofuel in order to qualify for the program, leaving standalone renewable chemical amenities out. BIO labored diligently with the agriculture committee management to guarantee the 2018 Farm Bill permits standalone producers of renewable chemical compounds, biofuels and bio-based merchandise to qualify for this program. BIO additionally ensured the remaining convention committee report offered necessary funding for this program.

Because of BIO’s advocacy, the invoice additionally directs the Office of Budget and Management to course of all functions for this program inside 30 days. This will present a clearer timeline for candidates on when they could safe potential financing and once they can start constructing their biorefineries.

Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill contains $625 million in necessary funding throughout all power title packages, and the ”BioPreferred” program acquired a rise in necessary funding in contrast to the 2014 invoice.

Mandatory funding is important as a result of with out it, the effectiveness of those packages is at the mercy of Congress and the quantity of discretionary funding they allow annually. By together with necessary funding of those packages, Congress is offering much-needed certainty to farmers, corporations, producers and others working to construct America’s bio-based economic system that these packages will proceed to exist.

BIO additionally helped be sure that algae may now qualify as an eligible materials beneath the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). While BIO was dissatisfied the program didn’t obtain necessary funding, the invoice does authorize discretionary funding. BIO shall be working in 2019 to safe funding for BCAP in the appropriations course of.

Outside of the power title, BIO labored to guarantee the 2018 Farm Bill additionally supplies a clearer description of what biostimulants are and directs an interagency report on how finest to regulate them. As corporations proceed growing these new class of enzymes, microbes and different chemical compounds to help with plant and soil health, this clarification will dictate and enhance their regulatory pathway to market.

Thanks to Congress and BIO’s advocacy efforts, the Farm Bill’s power title packages shall be absolutely operational in the new 12 months. And the enhancements made to these packages shall be seen for years to come by means of the development of the bio-based economic system.

BIO understands that the street doesn’t finish right here, nevertheless. BIO will proceed working intently with Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to guarantee correct implementation and to safe and acquire extra funding for these packages into the future.

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